A pop up restaurant experience is a temporary set up, often to let owners and chefs try out new dishes, new spaces or expose new clientele to what they have to offer. The magnificent group from Ayden in Saskatoon brought their fantastic food to Regina in January, and David and I were there with bells on!
The Grassroots Restaurant Group has three amazing restaurants in Saskatoon, Ayden, Little Grouse on the Prairie, and Sticks and Stones. We love all three, and are excited to know that they are opening a restaurant in Regina soon! That’s what this pop up was all about. To expose Regina to Ayden food and ambience, in their soon to be new location downtown (the old Malt City across from The Bay on 11th Avenue).
We bought tickets online ahead of time (at $100 per person for all food, drink and gratuities it was a good deal). Long tables stretched out for family-style serving and seating, and the room was pretty full (close to a sell out). It was fun to hear from Chef Dale Mackay about the staff moving to Regina for the new venture (Chef Nathan Guggenheimer of Sticks and Stones and Mixologist Christopher Cho). They are super talented. This is going to be great!
The first courses came out immediately as people were being seated. The welcome drink was a gin and ginger concoction (a little to heavy on the ginger for me). The charcuterie board was full of delicious cured meats and an interesting pate I really liked.
I was a big fan of the beef tartare (it’s delicious when it’s done right). David really liked the sausage (a bit too much meat for me at this point in the meal, and I wanted to save room for the rest of the dinner).
The hot starters were also great… my favourite was the thai wings with a fantastic tangy lime and lemongrass flavour. David really like the sausage (a bit too much meat for me.. and I wanted to keep room for the rest of dinner).
The food just kept on coming! If anything, there was just too much of it in this family-style sharing environment. Mountains of mains and sides started to arrive. The chicken two ways were big plates of smoked chicken breast and fried leg. While we liked the very smokey flavour of the chicken breast, the fried chicken was out of this world!
The sides were great also – baked beans, a lovely broccoli slaw, roasted cauliflower and cheddar biscuits that were buttery to perfection (I could have just had that for supper and been happy)!
The dinner ended with an opera cake that was good, but by all accounts everyone around us was completely too stuffed to really enjoy it.
Overall, this pop up was a lot of fun, and we are really looking forward to the next two events for Little Grouse (Italian) and Sticks and Stones (Korean/Japanese). I’m not sure what the plan is for the Regina restaurant. Whatever cuisine it ends up being, I know it will be a delicious and exciting addition to Regina’s restaurant scene!